The Countdown Begins
Inside World Youth Day 2008
By Catherine Smibert (in Sydney)
Preparing with Prayer Power
SYDNEY, Australia, JULY 23, 2007 (Zenit) - With one year to go, the host city for the 2008 World Youth Day is buzzing with what some on the ground are describing as "holy anticipation."
And to honor the request of Benedict XVI and his predecessor, prayer is playing a vital role in the variety of preparatory activities occurring throughout Sydney and other national dioceses.
Last Friday, July 20, a year from the day of the final papal Mass, young and old alike united in one of the oldest churches in Sydney for what the coordinator of WYD '08, Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Fisher, dubbed "A Holy Hour of Power."
The evening began with a stunning rendition of the already popular WYD theme song, "Receive the Power," performed by young Catholic performing arts students.
Tears then sprang to the eyes of some of those gathered as they witnessed a screening of Benedict XVI's most recent audience emphasizing his encouragement in the Australian mission.
But following some more song, Scripture and a personal testimony from ex-professional football player-turned WYD director of evangelization and catechesis, Steve Lawrence, it was really Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament who took center stage.
Learning from the first Aussie faithful
As Bishop Fisher pointed out, the exact location for the sacred event emphasized the challenge Sydneysiders face today.
He recounted the history of St. Patrick's Church as dating back to the early 1800s when the first Catholics in the nation tried to obtain a grant of land for a church and the government refused their request. Then, the only priest was expelled by the British Authorities, leaving behind just one consecrated Host.
But this didn't stop the Aussie Catholics witnessing to their faith, the bishop told us. The picture of persecuted Catholics gathering secretly for prayer was used to describe those early years as a "catacomb" era.
"The lay faithful continued to guard and adore Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament for an entire year ... until another French priest arrived to consume it and say a Mass for them again," the bishop explained.
So, as we returned to the roots of our faith in this continent, Bishop Fisher encouraged Australians to try and tap in to that dedication of our forefathers and to revive devotion to God's truth and will.
Heeding the call of the Holy Father
Such encouragement echoes the Pope's appeal in his WYD message when he instructs youth to become the new soul of humanity by being credible witnesses to the Church's mission to the world.
Here Benedict XVI clarifies that we can only be Christ's missionaries if we allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit.
And this is echoed by the willingness of every parish across Sydney and the 'WYD SYD' (as it's affectionately known here) team.
Twenty-six-year-old Ivan Yau, WYD Coordinator for the Military Ordinariate of Australia, told me that "already the Spirit-filled experiences surrounding the event here in Sydney are really firing us up to do our part in responding to the Pope's request that we help launch a new Pentecost for the Church and humanity in the third millennium."
"We're sure the visitors of the world will share in our abundant sense of commitment to live up to our calling not to fear becoming great evangelizers," he added. "Now we tangibly know we can do anything with the Holy Spirit!"
Indeed the instructions and urgency of mission as presented in Benedict XVI's 6-page message for this occasion are already being followed Down Under.
In paragraphs 7 and 8 of the document, the English translation of which has still not been released, the Pope especially highlights young peoples' growing unease about their future, their questions regarding fighting injustices and suffering and how they should react to violence and egoism which seem to prevail in today's society -- but most importantly, how to give meaning to their lives.
In response to these concerns, Benedict XVI appeals to the world's youth not to forget the greatness of God's gifts which are the fruits of the Holy Spirit -- love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, meekness and self control.
The Pope says that these can heal the wounded world and above all the world of today's youth.
The Holy Father calls on youth to become the new soul of humanity by being credible witnesses to the Church's mission to the world.
"Once again," he writes, "I tell you that only Christ can fulfill man's innermost desires"
Benedict XVI clarifies that we can only be Christ's missionaries if we allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit.
And though he's aware that "some people may feel that by presenting the precious treasure of their faith to people who don't share the faith means being intolerant ... this is not so -- because representing Christ does not mean imposing Christ."
https://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
World Youth Day, 2008, Pope, Benedict, Australia
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Readings for Tuesday, April 24, 2018
- The Christian Duty: A mission of leading others to Jesus
- Two Leaves Tea at Catholic Online Shopping HD Video
- Earth Day 2018: We are stewards of Creation, and we must act like it
- St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, April 24, 2018
- Pope Francis tells priests to 'Be like Jesus the Good Shepherd'
- Every Earth Day, Remember Our Place in Creation HD Video
- Beautiful Divine Mercy One Decade Rosary at Catholic Online Shopping HD
- St. Gemma Galgani HD
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, April 25th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, April 24th, 2018 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education